During the summer, the air conditioner is king. This is the time of year when a finely tuned AC unit is the difference between comfort and misery. In general, we don’t interact with our air conditioning systems very often. It’s a background hero that keeps us cool and comfortable, basically on autopilot. However, there are several ways a homeowner can create problems that causes the AC to come to the forefront of our problems. We have made a list of the 10 most common air conditioner problems and mistakes that we see to help you keep your AC system a background player.
This is hands down the number one problem we see with air conditioning systems. Despite its importance, it is an easy thing to overlook. If your filter is not changed on a regular basis the dirt, dust and debris that has accumulated will significantly reduce the air that’s able to flow through it. A dirty air filter can cause increased strain on you HVAC system, reduced airflow, frozen evaporator coil, poor indoor air quality as well as an increase in your energy bills. It is suggested that you change your filter at least once every 3-4 months, and more frequently if you have pets or someone in your home suffers from allergies or asthma.
While it is normal to run the AC more frequently when it’s hot outside, it shouldn’t be running constantly. If you think your air conditioner is running more than it should there’s a few likely suspects. First check to make sure that your filter is clean, as mentioned above, a dirty filter will block the airflow needed to keep your home cool. Another reason your air conditioner could be running constantly is that it’s too small for your home. If your air conditioner is undersized, it’s probably working overtime to keep your home cool. Either way it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible, too much use will put a strain on your system leading to premature failure.
A system that won’t engage can be due to a tripped circuit breaker, a faulty thermostat, or loose wiring. It is not a good idea to fix the wiring yourself, you might end up doing more harm than good. Call a professional, their specialized equipment can diagnose the problem easily and efficiently.
As your air conditioner pulls hot, humid air from your home it turns into condensation that drains from your system. When your condensate drain gets clogged it can cause strong odors, mold and algea growth and water pooling around your system. If you suspect a clogged condensate drain, you should call a professional immediately to prevent damage to your floors, walls or ceilings. We recommend against using harsh chemicals or vinegar to clear the drain as they can be corrosive to your drain line.
Your evaporator coil pushes cool air into the home and your condenser coil operates outside with the compressor. Both coils can become dirty and corroded leading to bigger problems. With routine air conditioner maintenance, these coils are cleaned and inspected to ensure proper working condition. If you haven’t had your AC unit cleaned for awhile, it’s best to do so before easy maintenance turns into an untimely repair.
If you hear your AC running but do not feel cool air from your vents, there are a few options as to what could be wrong. The most common cause of low or no air flow is, you guessed it…a dirty air filter. However, if you’ve checked your air filter and it’s not dirty, it could be any number of other things starting with a refrigerant leak, a dirty condenser or a faulty thermostat.
This is a similar but separate issue. If you have air blowing out of your registers, but it’s not cool air, you most definitely have a refrigerant issue. Have a certified expert examine your system for a leak and propose solutions for repair and recharge.
It is not easy to detect these sorts of leaks because they often occur in coolant lines. Check around the unit for excess condensation or brightly colored stains. The leak could be due to the lines simply degrading over time, a blocked drainage pipe or even a faulty condensate pump. If you notice a leak or low refrigerant levels call a professional right away. Low levels of refrigerant can severely damage your compressor and a damaged compressor is a very expensive fix. Keeping up with your routine maintenance will detect issues and prevent problems before they occur.
This is also referred to as short cycling; the unit does not complete a full cycle but instead restarts over and over. It can be a serious problem as this can also damage the compressor. This is caused by either a clogged air filter, faulty thermostat, or it could also be a key indicator that your air conditioning system is too large for your home.
Sometimes it’s not the system it’s the thermostat. As thermostats age, they could go bad or cause your AC system to act erratically. If this happens you always want to call in an HVAC professional. Installing a thermostat yourself may seem easy, but if it’s not compatible with your particular HVAC system it could cause your circuit board to fail.
If your air conditioner is experiencing any of the above issues, the experts at Jackson Comfort Services can help! And just remember, having your system routinely cleaned and inspected will greatly reduce the likelihood that you’ll have to face these 10 common problems.